Back on the Emotional Rollercoaster after Plastic Surgery - My Bariatric Life

Patient Expert

This sharepost is part of a series about total body contouring plastic surgery that My Bariatric Life underwent following massive weight loss. ead  My Bariatric Life's Total Body Lift - Part 1: Why Did I Do This?

One might think that the emotional rollercoaster ends once the patient comes out of surgery. After all, the surgery was successful and the patient did not die - which in my case was what I was afraid of. But it is nearly inevitable that the patient will experience emotional ups and downs within the first weeks following surgery.

Regret, or buyer's remorse, can set in. Many patients fear they have made a mistake to have gotten their surgeries. They may have had a complication. They may not like their early results. They often get depressed because they cannot return to 'life as usual' during the long recovery period. Normal activities - such as picking up one's small child - must be put off for months. The patient may need help with showering and dressing for weeks. Sex is out of the question, and most patients sleep in a recliner or a bed separate from their spouses for months. While these things may sound somewhat trivial, in reality they are much harder to endure than one might imagine.

Immediately after surgery I was on an emotional high. I was very happy to have made it through a surgery where everything went so very well. I felt really good coming out of surgery - so good that I was online blogging about it that night. However, later that evening pain and nausea set in and I had a few fits of crying. As I lay in my hospital bed, incised on every part of my body and so incapacitated that I was unable to adjust my position or even wipe the tear-soaked hair from my face, I wondered why I had done this to myself. For the time being I was an invalid and fully reliant on the aides to take care of my ever basic need. I cried throughout the night.

The next morning I was on an emotional high again. My surgeon gleefully told me how great my surgery had gone, and that I bleed very little so he was able to spend all of his time focusing on the aesthetics of my surgery. My emotional high continued throughout my stay at the care center because I was the constant center of attention - just about everyone was excited about my surgery.

Nurses and aides would look in amazement at my before and after photos from my first plastic surgery (a tummy tuck) and could hardly believe that was me in the before photos. Excitedly they would touch their bodies to move around their flesh and tell me how they would like to beautify their bodies through plastic surgery. Some even ran their hands down my thighs and remark how firm and slender they were. And my surgeon saw me every morning, which kept me calm. I really enjoyed my stay at the care center.

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But I was all alone when I moved from the care center to the hotel, and without much human interaction day in and day out. A few days later I began my morning crying about the results of my buttock lift and breast lift and my swollen core. Then I lamented about how pretty I had looked before surgery and how ugly I now looked after surgery because I could not do hair and makeup and had to wear baggy clothes. I could not even walk or stand erect!

I felt that I looked awful and I cried on and off until I saw my surgeon at the end of the day. He was calming and reassuring, as always, and told me that it was too early to see my ultimate results. He explained that my breasts and buttocks would change, and that I had to wait at least three months to judge my results. He guaranteed that if I did not like my breasts and buttocks that he would revise them. As for my core, he said that I was swollen and that I would get my waist back once the swelling resolved and the tissues fell into place. I left his office feeling good about my surgery and the money I had spent.

When I returned home at two weeks post-operative, I was happy to return to life as usual, or so I thought. The fact was I still was reliant on my husband to do the cooking, help me shower, and take care of my dogs. I still could not wear my normal clothes and had to rotate the same few outfits throughout the week. I could not do my hair and makeup. I could not go to the gym. I developed some complications that required my surgeon to take care of me from 700 miles away.

I grew depressed. So much so that my surgeon cleared me to return to life as usual at four weeks post-op, which is a few weeks earlier than the normal recovery period. He told me that it would take a little longer for my arm lift wounds to heal as a result, but we agreed that it was best for my well-being that I return to leading a normal life. It was the best decision for me.

Ultimately, will I like my body contouring results? Will I need revisions to my plastic surgery?  Read My Bariatric Life's Dramatic Results from Plastic Surgery after Weight Loss to learn of my results from a total lift after massive weight loss.

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